Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 04-29-2012   #1
windriver's Avatar
Jackson, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 66
Yakima + 80mph = Flying Boats

I'm posting this so others can learn from my experience this weekend, and also to see if anyone else has had similar incidents.

I drive a Mazda 3 with a yakima roof rack installed on top. I had two creek boats on top and was heading down the interstate doing 80mph. (Speed limit was 75mph) I heard a loud pop and in my review mirror saw the two kayaks flying 15 ft in the air. They crashed violently on the pavement and then slid off into the grassy median. Super lucky no one was behind me or it would have caused a very serious accident. Initially I thought I must have done a poor job tying down the boats, but when I got out of the car the boats were still tied to the rack. The whole rack just flew off. Luckily the boats just had some minor road rash, no cracks or dents.

I've had the rack for almost a year and hauled all kinds of things on it at various speeds without issue. I carefully followed the installation guidelines ensuring that all the measurements were correct. It's possible I made a mistake somewhere I suppose, but every time I load anything on the rack I give it a few hard pulls and it always seems solid. I have no idea what caused this to happen. Maybe high speeds with two creek boats is just too much to handle. Has anyone else experienced this type of catastrophic rack failure? I doubt Yakima will warranty anything, but I'll give them a call tomorrow. Not sure about what my next move is, but I'm certainly going to be paranoid about hauling boats on top of my car for the rest of my life. I will never drive closely behind a car loaded with boats either. Anyways, if you drive a Mazda 3 with a yakima - beware!

windriver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2012   #2
no tengo
mania's Avatar
Baytopia, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1876
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,768
Speed Limits

guess you were 5 mph too fast.

mania is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2012   #3
nessles's Avatar
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 75
Same thing has happened to me with a Prius. I had a Yakima roof rack and was driving around 50mph with a Nomad and Green Boat on top. Heard some ridiculous noise and saw my boats cartwheeling down the road behind me.

I noticed that the racks would slide forward and backward some during regular use and I assume that the racks lost their grip on the frame eventually. Installed everything perfectly, but apparently I'm not the only one this has happened to. Glad no one got hurt.

Just got new Thule racks. They seem pretty bomber.

- Nessles
Fluid Glass Network
nessles is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2012   #4
Grand Junction, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 434
Yep, I had this happen on my Honda Civic Hybrid back in 2007. I was driving along on the Salmon River Highway outside Riggins, ID when the whole Yakima rack came off with 2 creek boats and a paddle attached! I called Yakima and they said that I should have been using tie downs. After another 4 years, I had enough and took the whole rack back to REI. They refunded my money and I bought a real rack (Thule). I've had no problems since and the rack never slips on my car. With my old Yakima, I set it up with all measurements done correctly and it would still slip if the roof was wet. Thules are SO much better than Yakima!! To boot, a few month later, the flimsy Yakima paddle holder broke on I-84. The paddle came off, scratched my trunk and my $350 paddle got run over by a semi truck. Yakima SUCKS!
Outlaw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2012   #5
Duckins's Avatar
Montrose, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 173
I wouldn't necessarily blame it on Yakima, and I wouldn't blindly trust a Thule rack to not fly off either. One of my friends had a rack fly off before on I-70, and I've noticed mine get loose with kayaks on it as well.

You probably set the rack up right. It's the kayak rigging that makes the rack come loose. Most other racks (like bike trays, ski racks, or Rocket Boxes) hold the bars a set distance. When we put kayaks on and crank down on cam straps to hold 'em down, we are forcing the racks together (or apart, depending on how you strap them down). This can cause the rack to push the car's roof down and make the rack's clip loose.

I think it's a problem inherent to any of the rack systems that use clips to hold onto your roof or rain gutters. It's important to do a quick check of the rack, especially when you're loading up kayaks.
Duckins is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2012   #6
Longmont, Colorado
Paddling Since: 98
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 328
Damn, lot's of boats flying about.

Can't say I have ever had a problem with Yakima and have certainly driven faster than 80 with more stuff on the roof.

I know there are different types of mounts but all of the ones I have seen would give you some pretty strong clues they are about to go before actually going. Hard to say without seeing the left over pieces though.

I saw some guys picking up pieces of snowboards and racks from I-70 on morning on my way to the hill.Didn;t see if it was Thule of Yakima.
GPP33 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2012   #7
Redpaddle's Avatar
Newport, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 206
Just an observation, but all the problems cited here had to do with cars without factory roof racks. I had a 96 Subaru Outback with Thule racks and have routinely loaded it with lots of kayaks, canoes, bikes etc. The most ever was 2 canoes and a kayak (all stacked) and a bike, driving across the cascades in Oregon (Bend to Newport) in some terrifying winds. There were some gusts I was certain would either rip off the canoes or flip my car but the old Subaru/Thule combination held strong! only damage was strap rubbing on the canoe hull.

So it makes me wonder two things: did the rack failure happen at the attachment point with the car (rain gutter clamp)? do people have experience with rack failure on cars that it attaches to factory pre-installed racks (bolted to the structure of the car)?
"Paddle silently, boof loudly"
Redpaddle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2012   #8
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,407
One of my boating buds has a rule:

"straps hold boats to the roof rack
bow and stern tie down ropes to the vehicle frame hold the rack to the vehicle"

I know of no rack company that will cover rack failure unless front and rear tie down ropes are used.
okieboater is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2012   #9
Redpaddle's Avatar
Newport, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 206
Agreed bow and stern lines are a good idea for larger boats to keep them straight and their bows down so they don't become a sail but for a 6-8' kayak? I don't think they will help much.

I agree, however, that no rack company is going to be easily convinced to assume fault for these types of accidents. There are too many variables and "user errors" that they will be able to cite as cause of failure. Best to just check the rack before use but I know I forget after a few takeout beers....

heck just buy a pickup and throw em in the back. 'Merica!
"Paddle silently, boof loudly"
Redpaddle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2012   #10
openboat's Avatar
Longmont, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 227
I've never seen a kayaker with bow and stern ropes attached to the car, but with canoes, we usually use these ropes to assure this doesn't happen. I've had good Yakima racks with real towers directly on the roof (not on luggage racks) pulled over 6" from their original position in high crosswinds when my canoes were on. The bow and stern ropes saved them.

openboat is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Topic Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
flying with boats and paddles? redbeard Whitewater Kayaking 2 09-12-2010 06:22 AM
Thule, Yakima, or VW for my duckies? Randaddy Kayaking | Gear Talk 0 05-15-2010 10:31 AM
Pommies in Uganda - Green Lights and Flying Boats James B Whitewater Kayaking 0 01-10-2006 10:13 AM
yakima question airbag Whitewater Kayaking 0 08-25-2005 05:36 PM
OT: Yakima Rack Question pbowman Whitewater Kayaking 5 01-24-2005 01:38 AM

» Classified Ads
Demo 2016 Jackson 2 Fun

posted by 4CRS

Used 2016 Jackson 2Fun whitewater kayak - lightly used demo...

Jackson 2014 Rockstar...

posted by Scardenas95

Liquid Logic BRAAAP

posted by pjmacnaughton

Liquid Logic Braaap Whitewater kayak 69 gal black/green...

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2012 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:24 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.